There will surely be few people who will mourn the demise of Apple’s music social network Ping.
That the ‘walled garden’ within iTunes didn’t “gain traction”, as CEO Tim Cook put it in July, is little surprise.
It offered a poor user experience within iTunes’ familiarly clunky interface, with little reason for visiting. Bands more often than not used it as a somewhat perfunctory news feed and this, combined with Ping’s small and unenthusiastic audience, meant it felt like a slow-moving, neutered network.
More importantly Apple failed to see, or acknowledge, that Twitter and Facebook users were already using those social networks to talk about music (along with, perhaps, everything else under the sun).
Therein lays one of the lessons from this. It’s not impossible to establish niche online communities, but it’s easier to do so if they are formed within established social networks with large user bases.